What are blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, is actually not algae, it’s a bacteria that photosynthesizes like algae. Many people refer to this bacteria as “pond scum.” Most commonly, blue-green algae are blue-green in color, but can also be only blue, only green, reddish-purple, or brown.
Blue-green algae can grow quickly if the environmental conditions are right. They like to grow in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams that are warm in temperature. Nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen also help their growth.
How are blue-green algae different from true algae?
Typical algae are an important part of the food chain. Blue-green algae do not get eaten like true algae, therefore, are not in the food chain. Also, blue-green algae are not plants, but they are prokaryotes, while green algae are plants and are eukaryotes.
So what’s the problem with blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae itself is not necessarily a huge problem. There is a cause for concern when they form blooms (dense build-ups), as they can produce harmful toxins. Blooms can be triggered by excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), upwellings, sunlight, calm water, low-water or low-flow conditions, warmer temperatures.
You’re most likely to see these harmful algae blooms in-between the months of July and October. Blooms are toxic to fish and other organisms, can decrease oxygen levels, and can prevent beneficial algae growth.
The remedy to get rid of blue-green algae once they are found in your pond or lake to remove or lock up the nutrient source. However, products such as Captian XTR or SeClear can be used with multiple treatments to gain control quickly.
But if present it can re-appear in little as 3-7 days if you pond or lake is connected to a stream or stormwater.
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